Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

Retailers, Wholesalers, and Manufacturers of Hardware, Building Supplies, Kitchen & Bath, Paint & Decorating, Lawn & Garden, and Other Allied Products.


November 12, 2019

Next Generation Needs Support To Lead Digital Age

Family business next generations (NextGens) view themselves as agents of change for digital transformation, but are looking for greater support and trust from current generation leaders, says a report by PwC. The report says 70 per cent of NextGens are already deeply engaged in family enterprise yet, a significant minority feel they are being held back and frustrated by a lack of opportunity. They are confident in the value they can bring in terms of skills with more than two-thirds agreeing that their strongest attributes (problem-solving and leadership) are essential skills in the future business landscape. Sixty-four per cent say they can add value to ensure future business strategy is fit for the digital age. They are looking for support to develop the expertise and experience they need to succeed. "It's vital to understand the importance of a cross-generational approach. In some family businesses, there may be up to five generations all working together in one company," says Vicki Huff Eckert, U.S. and global leader, PwC New Ventures. "Weaving in the best traits from each generation - knowing when to let the young take the lead and when to rein them in - can make the difference between simply surviving and passing on a thriving enterprise to the next generation."

Toronto, Hamilton Housing Vulnerability Decreases

Toronto and Hamilton, ON, are the latest markets to see a change in their overall degree of housing market vulnerability from high to moderate, says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in its 'Housing Market Assessment (HMA).' The change brings the Toronto and Hamilton markets in line with Canada's overall moderate vulnerability rating. Victoria, BC, remains the only major centre with an overall high degree of vulnerability rating. The national housing market's overall vulnerability remains moderate for the third consecutive quarter. This follows 10 consecutive quarters of having been flagged with a high degree of vulnerability. Imbalances between house prices and housing market fundamentals such as income and population have narrowed with prices continuing to adjust and fundamentals catching up. Victoria no longer exhibits evidence of overheating while the overall vulnerability of Vancouver, BC, remains moderate as evidence of overvaluation persists. Edmonton and Calgary, AB; Saskatoon and Regina, SK; and Winnipeg, MB, continue to see a moderate degree of vulnerability in the overall assessment, due to evidence of overbuilding. Ottawa, ON; Montreal and Quebec City, QC; Moncton, NB; Halifax, NS; and St. John's, NL, maintain a low degree of overall vulnerability.

Desjardins Capital Acquires SJM Group Shares

Desjardins Capital has acquired the majority of the shares held in three SJM Group companies - Équipement Boni, Etalex, and Produits de Fil et Métal FormaFil. SJM Group provides solutions for commercial fixtures and heavy-duty storage systems. The transaction will boost synergy among the three entities and is consistent with the expertise of the group's managers, who will continue to oversee operations. With Desjardins Capital as an equity partner, the family business can retain its Quebec ownership while handing management of operations over to SJM Group Management Committee. The transaction will allow SJM Group to continue its development while bringing a promising next generation on board.

Masco Completes Business Divesture

Masco Corporation has completed the sale of its Milgard Windows and Doors division to MI Windows and Doors LLC for approximately $725 million. Masco announced the plan to divest its cabinetry and windows businesses in June and found a buyer – MI Windows and Doors – in October. It has not yet announced any buyers for its cabinetry business.

DEWALT Enhances Three Original FLEXVOLT Tools

DEWALT has made upgrades to three products that were part of the original DEWALT FLEXVOLT System, debuted in 2016. The 60V MAX FLEXVOLT 7¼-inch Circular Saw (DCS578), 60V MAX FLEXVOLT 4½- to 6-inch Grinder (DCG418), and 60V MAX FLEXVOLT Reciprocating Saw (DCS389) each offer increased power versus their predecessors. The upgrades mean that the circular saw is up to 47 per cent more powerful than its predecessor, the grinder is up to 30 per cent more powerful, and the reciprocating saw is up to 19 per cent more powerful. Each of these tools achieves this increase in performance via new motors, new software, and new controls. In addition, they will be available as a kit with a 9.0Ah battery. The original FLEXVOLT tools were kitted with a 6.0Ah battery.

AEP Has Gains

Atlas Engineered Products Ltd. had revenue of $10.5 million for the third quarter of 2019, up 106 per cent from $5.1 million in the third quarter 2018. Operating income for the quarter was $735,736 compared to an operating loss of $8,050 in the prior year period. Net income was $531,710. The improvements are due to integration activities such as consolidated raw material supply, improved manufacturing efficiency, productivity gains, and lower cost of sales, says the company.

November 11, 2019

October Canadian Housing Starts Trend Lower

The trend in housing starts decreased in October to 218,598 units; this compares to 223,276 units in September, says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts. Multi-family starts in urban centres trended lower following four months of consecutive gains, offsetting a modest increase in the trend of urban single-detached starts in October. The Vancouver, BC, and Toronto, ON, census metropolitan areas (CMAs) trended lower compared to last month. The Edmonton, AB; Regina, SK, and Gatineau and Sherbrooke, QC, CMAs trended higher. Prince Edward Island housing starts were up 146 per cent year-over-year. The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 201,973 units in October, down 8.7 per cent from 221,135 units in September. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by nine per cent, multiple urban starts decreased by 12.5 per cent, and single-detached urban starts increased by 2.4 per cent.

TIMBER MART Honours World War II Vets

TIMBER MART commercial members from across Canada visited the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer in Normandy, France

TIMBER MART commercial members from across Canada visited the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer in Normandy, France, this fall to honour the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the Second World War. The group toured the site on September 24 where more than 14,000 Canadian troops landed on D-Day (June 6, 1944) to liberate France from Nazi control. To commemorate their visit, the group not only made a donation to the centre, but will also have a commemorative brick produced in the spring that will be placed on the beach at the Juno Beach Centre’s memorial kiosks. “Touring such a significant historical site was a humbling experience for us all as Canadians,” says Bernie Owens, president and CEO of TIMBER MART (pictured). “We are so proud of our fallen heroes and grateful for their sacrifice, for it is because of them that we are able to live so freely in this beautiful nation we call home.”

RONA La Crete Building Centre Opens Its Doors

Lowe’s Canada joined dealer-owners Andrew Zacharias and Andrew Neustaeter and their team to celebrate the grand opening of RONA La Crete Building Centre on November 8. Located in La Crete, AB, the store has been displaying the RONA banner since January. For the last 10 months, the owners have renovated the store, tripled the size of the sales floor, and added hundreds of new products. They also hired five additional employees to better serve their community. The 20,000-square-foot store features new product categories such as appliances and seasonal products and a wider selection of products for existing categories that now include brands like Craftsman.

BMR Group Trade Show Launched Products And Services

‘Close-knit and connected’ was the theme for the ‘2019 BMR Group Trade Show’ that ran from November 6 to 8 in Québec City, QC. Dealers were able to learn about new products with four new private brands launched to modernize and strengthen their product offering. They are Botaflora (horticulture), Splendi (high-end products), Fixel (low-end products), and Architek (finishing building materials). These brands will appear in stores in 2020. The show also featured a marketing exhibit that provided information and services to help dealers improve their in-store customer experience. BMR introduced the no-cost Imagine Program as well as a number of planograms promoting products such as a line of zero-waste products, Amazon Alexa products, and Firman generators. BMR also launched the ‘BMR Independent Dealers’ section of La Coop fédérée which offers dealers membership and year-end rebates.

Credit Card Fees To Drop For Small Business

Some of the fees merchants pay on credit card transactions will go down from 1.5 per cent to 1.4 per cent, on average, starting in April as a result of an agreement reached by the federal government with Visa and Mastercard last year. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says it is pleased by this latest victory for small business but warns independent merchants to protect themselves from misinformation and unfair contracts. In addition, the federal government has promised to eliminate processing fees on HST and GST for credit card transactions, a move estimated to save merchants nearly $500 million per year in fees. While these announcements are very good news, CFIB warns small business owners to be vigilant to ensure the savings are passed along to them. CFIB also says it has started to receive complaints about new credit card processing fees. In particular, Mastercard is introducing a new fee on returns/refunds and pre-authorizations. And while interchange rates for in-store Mastercard transactions are expected to see a meaningful reduction (up to 29 per cent), eCommerce businesses may see increases in the fees they have to pay for some categories of cards.

October Dodge Momentum Index Moves Higher

The Dodge Momentum Index increased 6.9 per cent in October to 152.6 from the revised September reading of 142.7. The index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for non-residential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for non-residential buildings by a full year. October’s increase was due entirely to a recovery in institutional planning projects, which had stepped back over the previous few months. Institutional planning moved 22.8 per cent higher in the month while commercial planning lost 0.5 per cent. Despite the October increase, institutional projects entering planning remain 4.3 per cent lower on a year-over-year basis compared to October 2018. Commercial projects meanwhile are 14.3 per cent higher than October 2018. The overall index is 6.7 per cent higher than a year ago, although its level remains below the July 2018 peak.

Louisiana-Pacific Sales Dip

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP) had net sales of $603 million for the third quarter of 2019, a decrease from net sales of $737 million in the third quarter of 2018. Net income was $2 million compared to $124 million in the year-ago period and adjusted EBITDA was $49 million compared to $193 million. Declines in OSB pricing in all North American operations had a negative impact on results. The siding segment had sales of $259 million compared to $241 million last year; the oriented strand board (OSB) segment had sales of $197 million compared to $349 million; and the engineered wood products (EWP) segment had net sales of $105 million compared to $110 million.

November 8, 2019

Consumers Want Digital Benefits

Consumers want the digital benefits of personalization via suggested selling, customized offers, and self-checkout/self-scanning for the times when they do not feel the need to engage, says BRP’s ‘Special Report: The Future of Retail.’ When retailers can combine the digital and physical environments such as offering proximity-triggered mobile coupons or self-checkout through a mobile app, customers reward retailers with their loyalty to the brand. Moving towards the future of retail, these retailer nice-to-haves will become table-stakes. The report says 55 per cent of consumers are likely to choose a retailer that offers self-checkout and they are willing to try new technology if it improves the in-store experience. The physical store is not dying and enhancing the customer experience continues to be critical for retail success. Consumers love the theatre of shopping, which is why many pure-play online retailers are opening brick-and-mortar stores and traditional store concepts continue to transform. The in-store experience is paramount for apparel and other products that consumers want to touch, feel, demo, or try on.

Supply Down In GTA Housing

There were 8,491 residential home sales in the Greater Toronto, ON, Area in October, says the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). This represents a 14 per cent increase compared to 7,448 sales reported in October 2018. GTA-wide, sales were up on a year-over-year basis for all major home types. While demand is strong, supply of available listings is dropping, resulting in tighter market conditions and accelerating price growth. New listings were down by 9.6 per cent compared to last year.

IKEA Canada To Launch ‘New City Centre’ Concepts

IKEA Canada plans to expand and introduce concepts to its Toronto, ON, city centre store. This is the first market in Canada where the retailer is introducing its ‘new city centre’ approach, which includes becoming more accessible through IKEA meeting places in the core, creating new experiences in existing stores, developing a more affordable and convenient service offer, and enhancing digital solutions. With final concepts and locations still to be determined, the city growth plan will be inspired by how Torontonians live at home and developed based on decades of experience in the market. “The ‘new city’ approach will complement our existing stores in the market, enabling customers to shop seamlessly across all touchpoints, based on their individual needs and preferences,” says Michael Ward, CEO and chief sustainability officer. Looking forward, IKEA will continue to explore new shopping formats, digital solutions, and ways to experience with IKEA, all with the goal to be the leading multichannel home furnishings retailer.

Residential Sector To Drive Garden Pot Demand

The global gardening pots market size is expected to reach US$2.5 billion by 2025, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6 per cent over the forecast period, says a report by Grand View Research. The residential sector is expected to register the fastest CAGR of six per cent from 2019 to 2025. A growing trend of the adoption of gardening among Millennials is expected to remain one of the key drivers of this growth. The trend shows that even though growing population and rapid urbanization is reducing the living space, gardening enthusiasts have been working towards continuing their interest by creating small gardening pots in balconies and kitchens. Growing interest in planting flowers, fruits, veggies, and herbs in various sized containers and pots is another key factor driving the market. By product, refractory material accounted for the largest share of over 40 per cent in 2018. Polymer is expected to register the fastest CAGR of 6.4 per cent from 2019 to 2025. The commercial application segment is expected to generate US$1.4 billion by 2025 owing to growing trend of creating gardens around the public buildings.

IPEX Acquires Silver-Line Plastics

Thermoplastic piping system manufacturer IPEX has acquired Silver-Line Plastics. Silver-Line Plastics is a U.S. manufacturer of plastic pipe products with three production facilities. With this acquisition, IPEX will increase its market position in the U.S. with an expanded product portfolio serving a broader client base. IPEX is part of Aliaxis, a manufacturer and distributor of advanced plastic piping systems.

Residential Segment Leads Generac Sales

Power equipment manufacturer Generac Holdings Inc. had net sales of $601.1 million for the third quarter of 2019, an increase of 6.9 per cent compared to net sales of $562.4 million in the third quarter of 2018. Cores sales growth was approximately seven per cent. Residential product sales increased 7.4 per cent year-over-year and commercial and industrial sales increased 4.1 per cent. Overall net income was $75.6 million for the quarter, in line with $75.8 million in the year-ago period. Adjusted EBITDA was $126 million, or 21 per cent of net sales, as compared to $124.5 million, or 22.1 per cent of net sales last year.

Sales Decrease For Masonite

Masonite International Corporation had net sales of $552 million for the third quarter of 2019, a decrease of one per cent over sales of $557 million in the third quarter of 2018. Net income for the quarter was $15 million compared to $25 million in the year-ago period and adjusted EBITDA was $76 million versus $71 million. North American residential net sales increased two per cent year-over-year and architectural net sales increased five per cent. Total company gross profit increased 13 per cent to $126 million and gross profit margin increased 280 basis points to 22.7 per cent.

November 7, 2019

Social Responsibility Drives Second-hand Economy

Four out of five Canadians participated in the second-hand economy in 2018, fueling a $27.3 billion second-hand economy that has grown in size annually since 2015, says the fifth annual 'Kijiji Second-Hand Economy Index.' It says a major driving force behind the growth is a shift in consumer motivations towards "community-minded commerce," with Canadians increasingly driven by the altruistic and ecological benefits of exchanging used items. While financial motivations for buying and selling second-hand continue to be the leading reasons for participation in the second-hand economy, they have shrunk by four per cent over the past five years. At the same time, there has been a six per cent increase in disposal driven by altruism with consumers aiming to have a positive impact on their fellow citizens, the community, and society as a whole. Ecological motivations are also becoming more important reflecting a national focus on protecting the planet and reducing waste. In 2018 alone, Canadians gave 2.4 billion items a second life - 250 million more items than in 2014. The rate of second-hand acquisitions has grown 14 per cent since 2014.

Giant Tiger Opens Two Ontario Locations

Giant Tiger has opened stores in Windsor and Brampton, ON. The Windsor store offers 17,558 square feet of retail space and the Brampton store offers 17,793 square feet. The stores are stocked with home and family fashions, brand-name groceries, and everyday necessities. The privately-held company has over 250 locations across Canada which are locally owned or operated.

Leviton Acquires Canadian Lighting Manufacturer

Lighting and control solutions provider Leviton has acquired Viscor, a Canadian independent lighting manufacturer that specializes in lighting for architectural, commercial, medical, institutional, and industrial applications. The acquisition supports Leviton's commitment to strategically expand its lighting and controls product offering. Established in 1952, Viscor is a family-owned company that manufactures more than 150 product families. "By adding Viscor to the Leviton family, we will be able to provide a much deeper portfolio of lighting options for our customers. Equally important, Viscor's product portfolio will be further enhanced with access to our wide variety of innovative lighting control options," says Daryoush Larizadeh, president and chief operating officer of Leviton.

Spectrum Sells HQ To Investment Firm

Real estate investment firm Harbor Group International, LLC (HGI) has acquired the headquarters of Spectrum Brands. The single-tenant office building, located in Middleton, WI, is a four-story property built in 2013 and spans 252,122 rentable square feet. The investment is part of HGI's strategic goal to geographically diversify its portfolio into underserved or mispriced markets. The property is fully leased to Spectrum Brands, Inc. through 2034.

HMS To Open AR Facility

Michigan-based HMS Manufacturing Company will open a 550,000-square-foot injection moulding facility in Arkansas. The housewares and home organization product manufacturer will spend $20 million on the facility that should start production in summer of next year. Among the HMS brands are Hefty and Home Logic.

Pier 1 Fills Top Jobs

Robert Riesbeck is chief executive officer of Pier 1 Imports, Inc.; he will also continue to serve as chief financial officer. He has more than 25 years of leadership experience in retail and consumer goods, including as CFO of FULLBEAUTY Brands. Donna Colaco is president. She served as executive vice-president and chief customer officer since 2018.

Commodity Prices Affect Builders FirstSource Sales

Builders FirstSource, Inc. had net sales of $2 billion for the third quarter of 2019, a decrease of 6.5 per cent compared to net sales of $2.1 billion in the third quarter of 2018. The decrease was partly attributable to declining lumber and lumber sheet goods sales due to the deflation in commodity prices. Sales volume per day in the single-family end market grew by an estimated 9.3 per cent, repair and remodel/other by 10.7 per cent, and multi-family by 5.8 per cent. Estimated sales volume also increased in all product categories.

November 6, 2019

October Vancouver Home Sales Soar

Residential real estate recovery in Metro Vancouver, BC, continued apace in October, with home sales soaring 45.4 per cent higher than the same month last year, says the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). Residential resale transactions in the region totaled 2,858 in October, which is the highest number of homes sold in a single month so far this year. As well as the year-over-year jump, this total is 22.5 per cent higher than the 2,333 homes sold in September this year and 9.8 per cent above the 10-year sales average for October. "Home buyers have more confidence today than we saw in the first half of the year," said Ashley Smith, president of REBGV. "With prices edging down over the last year and interest rates remaining low, hopeful buyers are becoming more active this fall." As more home inventory was absorbed by a more active market, the number of available listings declined - exacerbated by fewer sellers listing their homes for sale in October. There were 4,074 homes listed for sale, which is down 16.4 per cent compared to the 4,873 homes listed in October 2018 and down 16.3 per cent decrease compared to September 2019 when 4,866 homes were listed. For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio is 23.4 per cent, which is moving back towards a seller's market.

Strong Growth Forecast For Structural Insulated Panels Market

The global structural insulated panels market size is expected to reach US$640.4 million by 2025, progressing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1 per cent over the forecast period, says a report by Grand View Research, Inc. Structural insulated panels are manufactured by sandwiching foaming materials with siding panels so they provide superior insulation properties. This, in addition with other properties such as high resistance value, strength, and durability, is expected to drive industry growth over the projected period. Rising demand for modern construction techniques to build energy-efficient construction units is expected to drive the product demand. As well, increasing consumer awareness about the benefits of structural insulated panels coupled with positive government outlook to support green construction activities is likely to propel product demand. Product demand in walls and floors applications is expected to register a CAGR of 4.9 per cent over the forecast period owing to increasing single-family and multi-family residential construction. North America was the largest market for structural insulated panels in 2018, accounting for 39 per cent of the market revenue share.

2020 U.S. Construction Starts Forecast To Slip Back

Total U.S. construction starts will slip to $776 billion in 2020, a decline of four per cent from the 2019 estimated level of activity, says the '2020 Dodge Construction Outlook' by Dodge Data & Analytics. The dollar value of single family housing starts will be down three per cent in 2020 and the number of units will also lose five per cent to 765,000. Affordability issues and the tight supply of entry level homes have kept demand for homes muted and buyers on the sidelines. Multi-family construction was an early leader in the recovery, stringing together eight years of growth since 2009. However, multi-family vacancy rates have moved sideways over the past year, suggesting that slower economic growth will weigh on the market next year. Multi-family starts are slated to drop 13 per cent in dollars and 15 per cent in units. The dollar value of commercial building starts will retreat six per cent in 2020, while institutional construction starts will essentially remain even with the 2019 level.

Hydro-Québec To Manufacture Smart Home Devices

Hydro-Québec's subsidiary Hilo and Québec-based Stelpro are creating a joint venture with a mandate to develop connected devices for smart homes that will contribute to efficient energy use. The joint venture will develop products designed to manage energy use, such as smart thermostats, and provide them to both partners. The equipment will be designed in Québec and manufactured in a Stelpro Group plant in Shawinigan, QC. Stelpro manufacturers and assembles Maestro smart thermostats and has a network of distribution partners.

Roseburg Opens South Carolina Wood Plant

Roseburg Forest Products has opened an engineered wood plant in Chester, SC. The company says the plant is one of the most technologically advanced manufacturing facilities of its kind and features the highest-capacity press in the world. The project was first announced in early 2017 and the construction team broke ground later that same year. The company did extensive research prior to choosing a location for the new plant, with criteria including market demand, raw materials availability and cost, and business climate. The facility will produce laminated veneer lumber (LVL) headers and beams used in residential and commercial construction.

Cordona Joins SFA SANIFLO

Teresa Cardona is marketing and communications manager for North America with SFA SANIFLO. Previously, she was marketing and social media manager for Aramark.

Acadian Timber Sales Down

Acadian Timber Corp. had net sales of $26.6 million in the third quarter of 2019, a decrease versus net sales of $27.2 million in the third quarter of 2018. Net income for the quarter was $5.9 million compared to $9.7 million while adjusted EBITDA was $6.1 million compared to $6.7 million. Net sales in the New Brunswick timberlands segment were flat, while net sales for the Maine timberlands segment decreased from $6.6 million to $6.5 million year-over-year.

Newell Brands Reduces Net Loss

Newell Brands' net sales were $2.45 billion for the third quarter of 2019, a decrease of 3.8 per cent decline compared to the net sales of $2.55 billion in the third quarter of 2018. The decrease was largely attributable to the impact of foreign exchange and a 2.5 per cent decline in core sales. Gross margin was 33.1 per cent for the quarter compared with 35.9 per cent in the prior-year period. The company had a net loss of $626 million, an increase of 91.4 per cent compared to a net loss of $7.3 billion last year. The home and outdoor living segment sales increased 1.3 per cent; the learning and development segment sales decreased 3.7 per cent; the appliances and cookware segment sales decreased 3.7 per cent; and the food and commercial segment sales declined 11.3 per cent year-over-year.

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